Hazards & Safety
Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia
Environmental toxicology is a very rapidly expanding field. In recent years there has been a marked increase in the production of new journal articles and computer databases providing information on the effects of thousands of chemical compounds on fish and other aquatic life. The dramatically accelerated proliferation of new information makes it difficult for the individual who is supposed to be an "expert" on contaminants to keep up with the current state of knowledge.
Tools such as this one are needed because at the same time there is an "information explosion" going on, many environmental specialists are too busy to keep up with the literature. Often there is a need to determine whether or not concentrations of contaminants found in various mediums (water, sediments, soils, tissues, etc.) are at "safe" or negligible levels. Other times there is a need to quickly find synonyms or "What organisms are at risk?", or "what contaminants are associated with this type of facility?" It was the difficulty of quickly finding environmental toxicology benchmarks and general information that first inspired the senior editor to start compiling the information herein.
Since the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the National Library of Medicine, and others have more completely summarized human toxicology issues, the main thrust herein was to summarize information related to fish, wildlife, invertebrates, and other non-human living resources. This product differs from existing databases in that it has an environmental toxicology emphasis and it summarizes information on these issues into a single, easily searchable source. Some human information was also summarized when it was easy to do so or seemed important to general understanding, but the main efforts were directed at summarizing/compiling information of importance to general environmental toxicology rather than human toxicology.